HC Deb 06 April 1950 vol 473 cc204-5W
118. Mr. Harrison

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland in view of the public concern regarding the serious outbreak of smallpox in West Scotland and the attendant difficulties of tracing contacts, what steps have been taken to deal with the matter.

Mr. McNeil

In Glasgow there have been 20 cases of smallpox diagnosed and in Hamilton one. All were immediately hospitalised. Two of these patients have died, neither of whom had been vaccinated. All the cases which have so far arisen are definitely traceable to the primary case, who was an Asian seaman brought to London in the steamship "Chitral" on 5th March.

The complex procedure of tracing contacts has been prosecuted vigorously; their vaccination and observation has been carried out by the medical officers of health. The general public has responded well to appeals from medical officers in the two areas and over a quarter of a million have already been vaccinated. Naturally the position is being watched almost from hour to hour, and I am satisfied that the local health authorities are in command of the situation.

I should want to use this opportunity to thank not only the medical officers and their staffs but also the general practitioners and the public for their responsible and wholehearted co-operation.